Meryl Streep took on the challenging role former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her new film, "The Iron Lady," but the actress claims that though the role is unique, it also humanizes a woman known for her "iron" strong will.
"There isn't any other role like this, because we've never had a female Prime Minister in the western world, ever! To be generous, this character is unusual but what's not unusual is the point of view from which the film looks at that life," Streep said at the film's New York premiere, in an interview provided by The Weinstein Company. "It's her point of view -- it's a very subjective look at a very big life, but it is a look back from the waning edge of power. It's a look back at power from the point of view of powerlessness."
The movie, based on the nickname of the 85-year-old Conservative leader and Britain's first and only female prime minister, depicts how Thatcher "smashed through the barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male-dominated world," the production company Pathe said in a statement.
Thatcher served as the UK prime minister between 1979 and 1990. She maintained a tough stance against communism, led the Conservative party in its battle against the nation's trade unions and helped secure the 1981 release of 52 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days by Islamic militants in Iran. In 2008, it was revealed Thatcher, who survived an assassination attempt by the Irish Republican Army in 1984 and several small strokes in 2002, suffered from dementia.
The film is set in 1982 and tracks Thatcher in the 17 days before the two-and-a-half-month-long Falklands War, whose victory spurred increased approval ratings that ultimately helped lead her to win a second term.
"It's not a biopic, you know, it's not a documentary chronicle of those years," Streep explained of the film. "It is a very selective look at certain challenges that an old lady remembers, based on the challenges that she faces in her daily life."
Filming on "The Iron Lady" began last January and the movie hit theaters on December 16 in the United States and is slated for release on Jan. 6, 2012 in the United Kingdom. It was helmed by Phyllida Lloyd, who previously directed Streep in the 2008 film "Mamma Mia!"
Streep has won two Oscars and has been nominated for 16 in total. Aside from "The Iron Lady," the actress is preparing to star in the new comedy "Great Hope Springs," her spokesperson confirmed to OnTheRedCarpet.com. The movie is directed by David Frankel of "The Devil Wears Prada," which earned Streep an Academy Award nod.
"Great Hope Springs" is set for release in 2012 and depicts a middle-aged couple who undergo counseling, after 30 years of marriage. Others attached to star include Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos."
Streep recently an honor from the Kennedy Center for her contributions to American culture through the arts. Other honorees include singer Neil Diamond, Broadway singer Barbara Cook, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and saxophonist Sonny Rollins.
Check out the trailer for "The Iron Lady" below.